I’ve got so many bedtime stories to remember. Some of my favorites thus far. When every day’s a gift, you want to take it all in.
I wonder sometimes what it’s like for someone dying, saying goodnight to those who darken their door. If another morning is the greater gift, or if falling with one last chance to hold hearts and faces is what sings you to sleep.
On my last visit, when I kissed her forehead and said my goodnights, she took my hand and squeezed. I still remember the strength in a weathered grasp that had none left to offer.
Speaking is hard for her; so I cherished the words.
She looked me in the eyes and with beautiful strength, whispered,
“How beautiful are the feet of those who . . . those who . . . ”
She was trying to quote a verse from Isaiah. To thank me for being with her. “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news.”
Humor is an easy diversion for tears.
“Gam. I have ugly feet.”
So she fumbles some more.
“How beautiful are the feet . . . how beautiful are . . . of those who . . . who . . . ”
She puzzles, and searches my face. “Jenny, why can’t I remember?”
Hearts break a bit.
Frustrated, she raised her voice. “Why can’t I remember? I want to remember!”
I squeeze her hand a bit and began to recite. Slowly. The way you might do when you’re helping a child remember lines for a play. One word at time–making your sounds theirs. She mouths the sounds along with me. Finally remembering.
“How beautiful are the feet of those who bring Good News.”
She immediately scowls and points a boney finger at me.
“You knew that all along!!”
Instead of being embarrassed, she turns joyful. She throws her hands up in the air and starts singing. “He brings good news! He brings good news! Hallelujah, He brings good news!”
“Goodnight, Gam. I have ugly feet.”
“I know you do. But I’m still glad you came.”
So am I.
“How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of the messenger bringing good news,
breaking the news that all’s well, proclaiming good times, announcing salvation, telling Zion, ‘Your God reigns!’
Voices! Listen! Your scouts are shouting, thunderclap shouts, shouting in joyful unison. They see with their own eyes God coming back to Zion. Break into song! Boom it out, ruins of Jerusalem: ‘God has comforted his people! He’s redeemed Jerusalem!’
God has rolled up his sleeves . . . Everyone, from one end of the earth to the other, sees him at work, doing his salvation work.”